Georgia politics mad…
Georgia politics made big national news in this primary election, but some items that didn’t make the news are newsworthy.

Cynthia McKinney lost to Denise Majette 58% to 42%, meaning Republican strategists won’t have such an easy target to discredit in the future. (Cynthia managed to do their work for them.) Running against McKinney has been, up until now, no more than a vain political exercise for any challenger. She always won hands down, but this time the tables were turned.

One thing disturbs me, though. At first I thought to myself, “Well finally the Democrats in that district see and understand what the Republicans have known for years.” But then I considered that some of the vote for Majette came from Republicans that chose to vote in the Democrat primary. (In Georgia, there is no party affiliation attached to voter registration. When you come in for the primaries, you simply declare then which party ballot you want, and you are free to choose any one regardless of previous choices.) And then I considered that many Democrats reacting against McKinney’s support of the Saudi’s (“$10 million donation as long as we blame America for 9/11? Sure, Prince, I accept.”) and her nonsense about Bush’s supposed foreknowledge of 9/11. And then I realized that even considering all that, she still picked up 42% of the vote. Are that many people in that district really in agreement with her nonsense? Majette and McKinney aren’t that far apart on the issues, but McKinney has firmly placed herself in the “Blame America First” camp, and she still got 42%! Makes you wonder what those folks in the 4th district with patriotic stickers and flags are thinking. (…or if patriotic symbols are marks of Majette voters.)

McKinney said in her concession speech that Republicans wanted to remove her more than Democrats wanted to keep her. Perhaps, but not by much. Given her unabashedly anti-American stance and willingness to talk trash and use 9/11 to political advantage, and given that the majority of votes cast in that primary were by those considering themselves Democrats, the poll results should be disturbing to everyone. They cast the McKinney Democrats in quite a bad light (even though it’s good that some light is coming out of this). Are they as anti-American and distrustful of people solely based on party affiliation as she is? Are they easily led to believe pure drivel as long as it’s Democrat drivel? Are ignorance and apathy well-rooted there? The answer is probably some combination of the above

Bob Barr lost to John Linder in the 7th district by about a 2-to-1 margin. If you only listened to the national media, you’d think that the only thing Barr ever did was hold a leading position in the impeachment of President Clinton, because that’s the only background they’ve been giving on him when they mention the defeat. But in spite of the insinuation that he lost because of that, the truth is a bit more involved than the media care to portray it.

Both men’s views on the issues are very similar, they just differ in how they would like to implement those views. For example, both agree that China must do better on human rights issues, but disagree on how to use normal trade relations to influence that. Barr thinks that restricting trade would hit them in the pocketbook and would give them impetus to change. Linder thinks that isolating them that way would increase human rights violations because the world wouldn’t be looking at them as close as they are now. Same goal, but different tactics, so you can’t chalk up the Linder win to ideology.

One of the big reasons for the 2-to-1 margin is that, after state Democrats redrew the districts (i.e. gerrymandered like there was no tommorrow), voters from both mens’ districts were in the new 7th, and the ones that had been previously in the Linder district outnubmered the ones previously in the Barr district by a bit more than 2-to-1, with previous combined Barr/Linder constituents numbering 60% of the new district. In a sense, both incumbents won their voters over, it’s just that Linder had more voters.

Another reason that I heard that split voters up was over style–how each man approached the job–and the difference there was vast. Barr was unquestionably the more outspoken of the two–sometimes described as a lightening rod or a pit bull–and many voters preferred the more behind-the-scenes approach taken by Linder. Given that, Barr’s high-profile presence in the Clinton impeachment group was even more accentuated by his style, and some Republicans (I know of one personally, so there’s probably more) thought that we needed him for a time, but that time is past.

Again, these are not ideological differences, so Barr’s aims and goals were not repudiated. The news media will not, of course, consider this.

No, the bias will continue on unabated there. Tom Hughes, the morning news guy on WGST in Atlanta noted that in today’s New York Times McKinney was labeled merely a “vocal liberal” while Barr was labeled a “strident conservative”. None of McKinney’s over-the-top antics were mentioned, but of course Mr. Barr’s name was followed by the obligatory reference to the 4-year-old Clinton impeachment. Yup, according to the NY Times, you can hurl all manner of awful accusation at a Republican president and not have to worry about it in the future, but if you hold a Democrat president accountable to the law, you’ll never hear the end of it. As Mr. Huges said, “…and you thought all the opinions in the NY Times were only on the Editorial pages.”

(Interestingly, Jim Hickey of ABC News, subbing for Paul Harvey, noted that incumbents were the losers in Georgia, noting Barr and McKinney. Well, it’s not news that, in a 2-incumbent race, an incumbent loses. And McKinney was…well…McKinney. Again, the short take from the media fails to consider the details. Hurry back, Mr. Harvey.)

With the majority win of Republican Saxby Chambliss, Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) now knows who he’ll be up against in November, and is in full campaign mode. One line I’ve heard twice from him in 12 hours was about securing Social Security by not privatizing it. “We don’t want to take money from those on Main Street and give it to those on Wall Street”, referring to how the Enron / WorldCom / etc. debacles have shaken the stock market. (Funny how Democrats never mention Global Crossing in that list. Must be all the donations they got from GC. Ya think?) So then Max and all the Democrats that have been repeating this mantra are all for keeping the money in the government which has a far worse record on accounting than the worst of the corporations out there. And this is supposed to make us feel good? Frankly, I don’t see how giving people control of their own money can be considered a bad thing, especially since, if you control it, and you don’t want to take the risk of the stock market, you don’t have to put it there. But pro-choice Max won’t give you that choice.

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